10 to 23 September 2018
Sentro Rizal Ottawa
Embassy of the Philippines in Canada
30 Murray Street, Ottawa



The Embassy of the Philippines in Canada and MELD Arts are pleased to present “Essence – art celebrating the roles, struggles, and triumphs of all women” in a two – week exhibit at Sentro Rizal Ottawa scheduled from 10 to 23 September 2018.

The exhibit features the works of six artists of Filipino descent living away from the motherland and their perspectives on what it means to be a woman in today’s world. Esmie Gayo McLaren (Vancouver, BC), Lenore RS Lim (Vancouver, New York, and Manila), Pamela Gotangco (Switzerland), Melanie Yugo (Ottawa), Chito Maravilla (Surrey, BC), and Danvic Briones (Richmond, BC) will share their insights into the experiences of Filipino women, spanning geography and generations, using varying media and showcasing the distinctive styles that have garnered them awards and recognition in different fora.

Having effectually debuted in Vancouver in April this year, the exhibit aims to continue the conversation on the changing roles of women, their impact on history and vice versa, their experience of navigating a multi-cultural milieu, the ways by which men and women relate to each other, and how to move the dialogue forward towards a more gender fair and empowering society.

Essence will be presented at the Philippine Embassy’s Sentro Rizal Ottawa in partnership with Possible Worlds.

About MELD Arts:
MELD Arts is the hub of a family of artists who create and promote art, especially as a means to connect people and communities through exhibition, performance, and education.

About Sentro Rizal Ottawa:
Sentro Rizal Ottawa was established in 10 May 2018 pursuant to Philippine Republic Act No. 10066 (National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009) Section 42 mandating the creation and establishment of Sentro Rizal for the purpose of promoting Philippine arts, culture, and language throughout the world. Sentro Rizal Ottawa hosts a library on Filipiniana, including a “Virtual Sentro Rizal,” and is open to the public.

Esmie Gayo McLaren, Exhibition Producer
604.437.6353 ∙ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Aileen Cuya, Cultural Officer (Sentro Rizal Ottawa)
613.233.1121 ∙ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sentro Rizal Ottawa, Embassy of the Philippines
30 Murray Street, Ottawa, ON K1N 5M4
Facebook: @PHinCanada
Twitter: @PHinCanada


Danvic Briones -
Danvic Briones is a renegade artist, whose initial works were heavily influenced by surrealism, the subconscious, and Salvador Dali. Fine Arts school, however, led him to another path: printmaking (collagraphy). The recipient of several awards, he exhibits in Asia, the United States, and Canada.
Briones carves on soft wood and paints it with subdued colors. The end result: a plate that is not just part of the process but the final artwork. His unique pieces depict a candid slice of life moments of today’s women. They show the blurring and sharpening of boundaries between the roles and stature of women and men in present society. He uses carving tools to interpret the very sharp representative lines which he combines with icons and symbolisms to blur the roles, stature, and responsibilities of both genders.

Pamela Gotangco -
Pamela Gotangco stated: "I found voice through my canvas and I seek audience for dialogue. My mission is to impart a piece of my reflection through subtle provocation. My earlier works were composed of several layers of apprehensive thoughts. Recently they were becoming more audacious and blunt. I found the change compelling and appropriate.” Gotangco characterizes her style as figurative, feminine, and arbitrary, oftentimes bordering socio-political arguments. She champions equal opportunity for women and draws insight from their role in society. Her recent works reflect trending socio-political issues and popular fads presented in a subtle, yet solid approach. Textures resonate the intensity of the artist’s thoughts. The heavier, the more intense her message. She employs pleasing colors and does not allow technical skills in brush strokes to decide or limit her ability to be heard. A popular artist, Gotangco balances her exhibits between the Philippines, Switzerland, France, and USA. Essence is her first exhibition in Canada.

Lenore RS Lim -
Lim continues to probe her role as a daughter, a wife, a mother and a Filipina. Her Comfort Women series depicts the Comfort Women’s resolve in overcoming the shame of the sex slavery they were subjected to during World War II. The image of crushed fabric portrays the depth of despair and suffering these women survived. It also conveys the long and dark hours the comfort women spent in silence and in shame. Lim received the Presidential Award, specifically the Pamana ng Pilipino Award, for Filipino overseas (2004) and the Outstanding Professional Award for Fine Arts from the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (2005) for her accomplishments in the arts. Lenore enjoys a growing audience of collectors in the United States, where she was awarded a prestigious Jackson Pollock-Lee Krasner Foundation Grant, among other honors.

Chito Maravilla -
To Chito Maravilla, the simplicity of his paintings is an admission that he cannot summarize the complexity of his multiple relationships with the women he cares about. Instead, he has taken the idea of Essence, and chosen to explore the multiple ways that womanhood is embodied. Maravilla worked for 16 years as an art director at Campaigns & Grey Advertising in Manila. In 2002, he and his family migrated to Canada where he started working as a playground designer, with works that are widespread around Canada and in the US.
Currently, he works as a full-time graphic designer at Smartfilms where he creates for various commercial and corporate institutions. One of his recent designs is a mural at the BC Children’s Hospital.
Outside the corporate commercial work designs, he works part-time as a painter. To highlight his talent as an emerging artist, his works are displayed at venues such as the Vancouver International Airport, Surrey Art Centre, and Lipont Centre in Richmond. He is active in many art organizations including the Surrey Art Gallery Association.

Esmie Gayo McLaren -
In her narrative artmaking, Esmie Gayo McLaren questions, romanticizes, and embraces subjects that resonate with her spirit as artist, woman, and global citizen. Textured canvases, bold colors, and candid subjects are key to her emphases on motion and emotion. Her series on women probes the perception of the viewers whom she brings up close to witness joy, vulnerability, and passion. McLaren is based in Vancouver, Canada, a metropolis of varied cultures. The lines are often blurred between painting and volunteer work as she enjoys bridging communities through her art. A prolific artist, her popularly collected paintings have garnered awards such as “Best of Show”, “People’s Choice”, and “Excellence in Figurative Work”. She holds a Bachelor of Sciences degree from University of Alberta and an Art Certificate from Emily Carr University. Locally and internationally, she continues to explore, create, and make a difference through her art.

Melanie Yugo –
Melanie Yugo is an artist, educator, organizer and second-generation Filipina-Canadian. Her practice explores art and cultural life in the public sphere, through participatory structures, critical pedagogy, and platforms for underrepresented perspectives and practices. She co-founded and directs Possible Worlds, a socially-engaged art and music project space, gallery and publisher, and the multidisciplinary studio Spins & Needles, recognized for its interactive arts programming in alternative venues. As an emerging print artist focused primarily on silkscreening, her prints and artist books investigate histories and futures, both personal and social, as well as shared objects and invisible experiences of everyday life. Melanie is a graduate of McGill University, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and completed summer studies at the School of Visual Arts. Born in Toronto, she lives and works in Ottawa, Canada.